Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Salon ~ seminar by Diana Butler Bass

Diana Butler Bass, after yesterday's sessions
Diana Butler Bass led a weekend seminar about Christianity After Religion, her latest book.  In July, I discussed the book and Butler Bass's three B's:  believing, behaving, and belonging.
Believing ~ What do I think?
Behaving ~ How should I act?
Behaving ~ What do I do?
Belonging ~ Who am I?
My friend Donna and I attended all three sessions on Friday and Saturday and plan to hear Butler Bass again this morning as she teaches a Sunday school class and preaches a sermon at the church which hosted the seminar.  I have a lot to tell you about what I've learned.


One book arrived this week via UPS.
Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World ~ by Brian McLaren, 2012

When four religious leaders walk across the road, it's not the beginning of a joke.  It's the start of one of the most important conversations in today's world.  Can you be a committed Christian without having to condemn or convert people of other faiths?  Is it possible to affirm other religious traditions without watering down your own?  Brian McLaren proposes a new faith alternative, one built on "benevolence and solidarity rather than rivalry and hostility."  This way of being Christian is strong but doesn't strong-arm anyone, going beyond mere tolerance to vigorous hospitality toward, interest in, and collaboration with the other.  McLaren shows step-by-step how to reclaim this strong-benevolent faith, challenging us to stop creating barriers in the name of God and learn how affirming other religions can strengthen our commitment to our own.  And in doing so, he invites Christians to become more Christ-like than ever before.
One book arrived because Donna and I attended the author's seminar and bought it to get it signed.
Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith ~ by Diana Butler Bass, 2006

For decades the accepted wisdom has been that America's mainline Protestant churches are in decline, eclipsed by evangelical mega-churches.  Church and religion expert Diana Butler Bass wondered if this was true, and this book is the result of her extensive, three-year study of centrist and progressive churches across the country.  Her surprising findings reveal just the opposite — that many of the churches are flourishing, and they are doing so without resorting to mimicking the mega-church, evangelical style.  Butler Bass describes this phenomenon and offers a how-to approach for Protestants eager to remain faithful to their tradition while becoming a vital spiritual community.  As she delved into the rich spiritual life of various Episcopal, United Methodist, Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, and Lutheran churches, certain consistent practices — such as hospitality, contemplation, diversity, justice, discernment, and worship — emerged as core expressions of congregations seeking to rediscover authentic Christian faith and witness today.  This hopeful book reveals the practical steps that leaders and laypeople alike are taking to proclaim an alternative message about an emerging Christianity that strives for greater spiritual depth and proactively engages the needs of the world.
What have you been reading?

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Helen's Book Blog said...

That is such an interesting question: can one have faith in one's own religion without condemming other faiths? I think that's one of the big problems with religion, there often isn't room for outside opinion

Debra said...

I'm jealous that you attended a Diana Butler Bass seminar!! Wish I had known! I've read several of her books. Love them. Bought another one recently. On my shelf. Haven't had time to start just yet. But will. :) I will attend her seminar by reading closely what you got out of it!

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Debra, it was in Atlanta. I read about the seminar at almost midnight the night before it started, so Donna and I had to hustle to make it to Atlanta for the weekend.